Electronic Tendering System

Part of FINANCE AND personnel – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:45 pm on 23rd March 2009.

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Photo of Nigel Dodds Nigel Dodds Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform), Without portfolio, Shadow Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Without Portfolio) 3:45 pm, 23rd March 2009

It is not a question of whether that situation will be monitored: it is continuously monitored. The Construction Industry Forum Procurement Task Group meets fortnightly to discuss all those issues with the construction industry and businesses, so it directly engages with Government on those issues. Public-sector procurement procedures are highly regulated according to UK national law and through European Union directives with which we must comply.

The measures that we have taken — backed up by facts — indicate that Northern Ireland firms and companies are already accessing considerable benefits from public procurement. I hope that the measures will reassure people that substantial work is being done; we take nothing for granted, however. We will continue to work to ensure that local companies can access the best-possible procurement opportunities.

There will also be companies in Northern Ireland that will rightly want to access opportunities outside Northern Ireland. A short while ago, we received the very welcome news that two of our leading developers and construction companies in Northern Ireland won work in Scotland. I do not know whether that will provoke questions in the Scottish Parliament about work not going to Scottish construction companies, but there are opportunities for Northern Ireland firms. When the portal is fully up and running, it will provide information on a UK-wide basis. Companies from Northern Ireland will be able to see opportunities arise from the Olympic Games.

I am delighted that Northern Ireland companies are benefiting from public-procurement opportunities in Northern Ireland and elsewhere.